A Reddit User Found a Ghost in One of Realtor.com’s Listings—What’s That All About?

Written by Erik Gunther on realtor.com.

We don’t generally frequent Reddit’s /r/creepy/ subreddit (we’re more into /r/showerbeer), but this particular ghost story was too good to pass up.

A Reddit user with the handle of moosemusick posted a link to a photo of a home in Georgia with the innocuous title of “Found on Realtor.com in Evans, Ga.” The photo appears rather mundane at first glance. It’s a living room with a quaint brick fireplace.

We looked closer. The walls and crown molding look crisply painted, the hardwood floors shine, and it looks like a cute place to call home. But … OMG, wait … what’s that over by the stairwell?

It’s a ghost!

A ghost who appears to be looking up from his/her/its smartphone…

Right?

“It’s me,” said listing agent Nancy Whitford. “And it’s not a ghost.”

Whitford was a bit taken aback when we reached out to her for comment, but she soon laughed it off and explained the curious circumstance.

When she uploads the photos to her listings, they’re thumbnail-size, so she’s hard-pressed to spot any evidence of celestial beings crossing over.

“The room was dark, and we had the shutter speed slow,” Whitford said. “Maybe I walked into the frame. I was probably running around.”

Her son takes photos of the homes she lists, and they both take pride in snapping quality photos.

“We really work on it,” she said. “We’re very detailed about photography. I think nice-looking photos are a huge factor for any home. The first thing anyone sees of your listing are the photos.”

She laughed and added, “Personally, I’m not a believer in ghosts. But people do have active imaginations. I wonder how it happened.”

To answer that question, we turned to real estate photographer Matt Edington,who spends his days snapping photos of the Seattle area’s most prestigious properties.

After dispensing with a few ectoplasm jokes, Edington explained how the supernatural snap came to be.

“Photographers take multiple exposures of the same shot at different shutter speeds in order to capture both the highlights (i.e., what’s out the windows) and the shadows in a scene,” he said. “If a person or object is in one of those exposures but is then removed in the others, it will create a blend of the image where the person or object is only partially shown. We call this ‘ghosting,’ because it gives the person or object a transparentlike look.”

For laymen like us, he said it’s like taking two identical photos—one with a person and one without. If you layer the photos on top of each other, but make the top photo just a little transparent, the person will appear as an apparition.

Edington told us he takes care to make sure things (or beings) don’t move while he’s shooting. But sometimes it’s unavoidable—in his case, it’s usually a homeowner’s pet that appears otherworldly in a few of his shots.

He also dispensed a few pro tips for anyone who wants to create standout images of their home. He recommends a tripod and a strobe light to even out the shadows and highlights of a photo. His No. 1 tip for nonprofessionals (other than hiring a pro!): Take your photos at the right time of day. You want to avoid dark, dreary days, but you also need to watch out for direct sunlight streaming through the windows.

One thing Edington and Whitford agree on is the importance of great photos for a listing.

“Photos are the first impression and the last impression. I think they’re the most important aspect of marketing a home, period. People are less likely to visit a listing if they’re not inspired by the photos,” Edington said.

We’re sorry to report that even if her photos inspired you to visit Whitford’s “haunted” listing, it’s too late. The home has a buyer lined up and is currently in pending status.

We asked Whitford if any sort of special disclosure was now required.

“I promise I have not haunted that house,” Whitford said.

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Trying to Sell a Haunted House?

Niche buyers actually want something to go bump in the night.

Haunted House for Sale Isn’t Spooky

You might think an old haunted house beset by ghost sightings, strange noises and apparitions would scare away potential buyers, but research has shown that such features can be a plus when putting a home on the market.

Even “The Most Haunted House in Ohio” found a buyer.

Franklin Castle, built in 1865 by Hannes Tiedemann on Cleveland’s west side, was a looming gothic mansion with intimidating size, a spooky wrought-iron gate and stone gargoyles guarding its entrance.  Over the years visitors and owners claimed they heard crying babies and odd noises, felt cold spots, and saw ghost-like figures moving about.

Local newspapers published the home’s address. Every curiosity-seeker from teenagers to paranormal societies camped outside, hoping to spot the ghosts. And the place was broken into more than once. The owners couldn’t hide the home’s past, but they didn’t have to. In 2011 it sold for $260,000.

Houses with an alleged ghost can be a plus for some buyers, according to realtor.com’s Haunted Real Estate Survey.

The survey asked average homebuyers what they thought about haunted houses. More than half of home buyers are open to buying a haunted house.

However, most buyers expect a discount. Of the survey’s respondents, 34 percent said they would want up to 30 percent off the asking price to consider purchasing a haunted place, while 19 percent said they would need more — up to half off. Only 12 percent said they would pay full market value or more for a haunted house for sale.

Niche buyers aren’t looking to get a deal on a house because of a bad reputation, they actually hope things will go bump in the night. But, if you’re trying to sell such a place, you have to set realistic expectations. Most specialty buyers aren’t going to pay more than the average price in your neighborhood just for the ghost. Still, for some sellers, waiting for a niche buyer might sound better than slashing the asking price.

If that’s you, there are a few things you can do to find the right buyers. First, look into your home’s past. Generally, paranormal buffs are looking for rich and troubled histories. If you can prove your home fits the bill through newspaper clippings or local history books, you’ll help legitimize your home’s ghost stories.

Next, find someone in the field to help market your house. Start by finding a real estate agent who will help you with your marketing plan; this is a home sale, after all, and you’ll need some professional help. Contacting local paranormal research groups may also help you find niche buyers. Many paranormal researchers are happy to investigate your home and possibly add more appeal to your haunting.

Some paranormal groups and researchers keep databases of haunted real estate for sale. For example, Bonnie Vent, owner of San Diego Paranormal Research and Genesis Creations Entertainment, posts haunted house listings on her website.

Finally, be ready to tell stories — lots of stories. During walk-throughs, potential buyers are going to have a lot of questions about the haunting, and any personal experiences you or your family members can share will help seal the deal. Don’t be afraid to point out spots that feel hot or cold, or rooms that make you feel uneasy — you are trying to sell a ghost along with your house, after all.

This article was originally published by Angella Colley on realtor.com. To see the original article, click here.